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Electric Vehicle Servicing

With the increased number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, there will be a heightened interest in servicing and maintaining EVs. Without an engine to maintain, EVs are certainly less complex and will be cheaper to service than a comparable petrol or diesel vehicle in many circumstances.

Which parts need servicing?

A typical petrol or diesel vehicle drive-train (engine, gearbox, and transmission) might contain around 2,000 moving parts. The EV equivalent is made up of no more than 20 components. There is no engine oil to change or filters to renew. In recent years diagnostic servicing of modern fossil fuel vehicles has become more complex and specialist.

The shift to EVs will accelerate the move away from the traditional car workshop to a high-tech environment. An EV service will include checks on the battery, high voltage electrical cables, and the cooling system.

Significant elements of an EV service will be the same as those for a petrol or diesel car. Brakes, suspension, and steering components will all need to be checked. Air conditioning units are common to all types of vehicles. The fact that an EV has extra weight and instant torque delivery will mean that there will be an expected higher wear rate for tyres.

Even though there are fewer parts to maintain, the service interval for EVs generally matches that of fossil fuel vehicles.

Where can EVs be serviced?

The nature of the high voltage systems integral to an EV means that they require specialist workshops for servicing and repair. Currently, there are only a small number of independent service locations outside of the main dealer networks. This will undoubtedly change as the market continues to grow. The Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Alliance (hevra.org.uk) has a list of EV specialists, and you can locate garages near your location.

Challenges for EV servicing

Earlier this year, the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI) warned there would be a significant shortage of EV technicians to service the increased volume of new EVs entering the market. Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, warned, “Our new analysis paints a…challenging picture. Once the charging network is fit for purpose...the next big challenge will be how to ensure we have a workforce adequately qualified to provide essential servicing, maintenance, and repair to keep these vehicles safe on the roads.” The IMI is concerned that without Government investment in training, there will be a shortage of over 35,000 qualified technicians at the current rate of EV expansion.

EV mechanic

This means the industry will be well short of the 90,000 technicians the IMI believes will be necessary to keep EVs on the road in 2030.

It is clear that the traditional local garage will change dramatically over the next decade as we move towards a market dominated by electric vehicles. That change will affect the way vehicles are serviced and who services them. Many commentaries on the switch to electric have focussed on the availability of new vehicles and how we will charge them. The servicing and maintenance of these vehicles is another challenge and one that hasn’t been fully addressed so far.